OUTFIT 2 DETAILS: similar chambray | stem dress | steve madden sandals (on sale!) | bp fringe bag (under $30) | similar glasses (on sale!) 
OUTFIT 3 DETAILS: stem dress | hinge jacket | wedges (on sale!) | crossbody bag (on sale for 40% off right now!!) | watch | similar hat here and here (both under $25!) 
*photos by sara walk

With the end of the school year only two weeks away for us, I have summer style on the brain. I’m planning to slow my work life down a bit and spend the summer really playing with my boys every day. We’ve spent the last week coming up with plans and goals for the summer and I’m feeling so excited for it to come.

But with all our days at the park, at the beach, in the kitchen making popsicles and summer treats, in the backyard grilling, and on the floor playing legos and matching games, I need some comfortable clothes that keep me covered as I run around, but also make me feel cute.

This dress from Stem instantly caught my eye at the store the other day, probably because of the stripes, but as soon as I tried it on I knew it was a winner. It’s unbelievably comfortable, a perfect length for full running-around coverage but not so long that I’ll trip over it, and it’s so cute. Also, I usually don’t love my body in this long of a midi skirt, but because of the slit and the body slimming shape, it doesn’t make my body look short and stumpy. It also helps that the hemline falls as a narrow part of my leg, rather than the widest (which is what makes you look shorter).

I styled it three different ways today to show how I’ll be wearing it during the summer.

1. With a baseball hat and a knotted tee. This is a perfect look for a day at the park, a walk around the neighborhood, a day at the zoo, basically any casual outing, or just to stay at home and feel put together.

2. With an open chambray and statement shoes. I just recently bought these neon pink sandals (cause they’re on sale right now), and I love how they add a bright pop of color to any basic outfit. This outfit is just a step above the last outfit in terms of dressiness and would be great for lunch with friends, a day at the museum, a barbecue with friends, or even just running errands.

3. With a jacket, hat, and pair of wedges. This super casual dress can even be dressed up a bit! Throw on a pair of wedgesa military inspired jacket, and a feminine bag (which is currently on sale for 40% off!) and you’re ready for a summer family dinner date or girls night.

It’s also perfect for the beach over your swimsuit, paired with some sandals and a floppy hat!

Which outfit is your favorite?

Merrick's Art | 3 Ways to Style a Midi Play Dress

Also, the Nordstrom half yearly sale is going on right now and there are so many good things on sale! Click the images in the widget below to shop my three looks and my favorites from the sale (but hurry because things are selling out quickly!)
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a huge thanks to Nordstrom for partnering on this post